WAYNE Brown turned down an offer from overseas to re-sign for Oxford United out of a sense of loyalty to manager Chris Wilder.
The experienced goalkeeper signed a two-year contract with the U’s yesterday, which will see him combine playing duties with assisting coach Alan Hodgkin-son.
Brown was in no doubt about where his future lies, preferring to stay at the Kassam Stadium over an approach to return to club football in South Africa.
The 35-year-old spent a mixed season with SuperSport United, before Wilder offered him the opportunity to return to English football last summer, for which the goalkeeper remains grateful.
He said: “I had an offer to go back and play in South Africa, which was also a part-coaching role.
“But Chris helped me out last year, so I like to think I’m repaying him now.
“It’s worked out so I thought ‘the guy’s been good to me and I can’t really let him down by walking away from it’.”
Brown made just four first-team starts this season, reaching 500 career appearances in England, and will remain as back-up to Ryan Clarke.
The former Chester, Hereford and Bury stopper is not ready to hang up his gloves for several years, but is keen to take on more coaching – which will see him help develop young goalkeepers Max
Crocombe and Josh Hill.
He said: “It’s a chance to progress on the coaching side, getting some help from Hodgy – I’m looking forward to it.
“I suppose it’s my apprenticeship really as a coach, it’s an ideal situation for me because I can still concentrate on play-ing.
“I believe I’ve got five or six years left in me to play and in the meantime I can build up the coaching until they want me to go full-time.
“I could play until I’m 40 easy, I’m quite a fit guy and you look up to guys like Brad Friedel and Mark Schwarzer – they’re athletes and you have to be lean and keep your head right.”
Brown missed the end of last season with a knee injury, but after a successful operation he expects to begin running again shortly.
The one remaining outstanding contract offer is for midfielder Adam Chapman, but Wilder is expecting a resolution shortly.
He said: “We’re hopefully trying to bring it to a conclusion within the next 24 hours.”